was not an accident,
not a windmill, or railroad station, or cross-roads tavern,
or an army barracks grown up by time and luck to a
place of wealth; but a seat of humanity, of men of principle,
obeying a sentiment, and marching loyally wither that should lead them.
Decline or Golden Age?
Boston was a leading
national city in the 18th and early 19th century . But as the U.S. expanded
westward, its position in commerce and the nation's life was diminished.
At this pivotal moment, unprecedented immigration buoyed the city from
43,000 in 1820, to 178,000 in 1860. By the turn of the century Boston
would have 560,000 residents.
At this pivotal moment
the City's business and cultural leaders believed in Boston. Rather than
following business elsewhere they made remarkable investments, which combined
with the city's new arrivals combined to once again allow Boston to remake
- 1852: Massachusetts
becomes the first state to have compulsory public education.
- 1852-1900: Back
Bay and Sound End created in a massive public works project.
- Tufts, MIT, BC,
BU, Radcliffe, Northeastern, Simmons, New England Conservatory, Harvard
Business and Architecture are founded.
- 1870: MFA established
by act of the state government.
- 1881: Boston Symphony
- 1895: Boston Public
- 1895: The country's
first subway is built.
- 1900: Symphony
One of those who benefited
from this more pluralistic culture was Kahlil
Gibran, who lived in my neighborhood, Boston's South End. The echoes
of this century end investment still
continue, and give good reason to consider how our current civic aspirations
at this millennium measure up.